Colo. governor approves legislation outlawing theft of free newspapers

COLORADO — Colorado on April 13 became the secondstate to outlaw the theft of free newspapers.The law, signed by Gov.Bill Owens, will fine thieves up to $5,000 for taking newspapers fromdistribution racks “with the intent to prevent other individuals fromreading that edition of the newspaper.”The fine varies by thenumber of papers stolen, but to constitute theft under the law, more than fivepapers must be taken. If 100 or fewer newspapers were stolen, the fine is up to$1,000. If 100 to 500 newspapers were stolen, the fine is up to $2,500 and ifmore than 500 newspapers are stolen, the fine is up to $5,000.The lawalso provides a newspaper publisher, advertiser or reader a private civil rightto sue the individual or group that stole the newspaper.Sen. JackTaylor, R-Steamboat Springs, and Rep. Carl Miller, D-Leadville, sponsored thebill. Miller said he sponsored it because a number of newspaper thefts inColorado were brought to his attention.Maryland enacted a similar law in1994.

Read previous coverage